[ 30. Sep 2011 ]

Noborder Camp Bulgaria 2011 - Outcome and Perspectives

Campsite in siva Reka

Here you find an article with reflections on the Noborder Camp in Siva Reka, August 2011, by


As the nobordercamp is a while ago allready and i wrote a bit :: about expectations in the first article, i would like to sum up for the outcome and perspectives. I wrote some article as well about the:: actions in svilengrad and about the :: actions at the detention centre. After the camp an action in greece at evros river took part and i :: wrote something about it. So this will be my fifth and last article about the project.

I do not know for the noborder network, but for single people i had the impression that lots of people, who had not a clear image before got to know better, how the situation looks like with antiracist activism in balkan region. I heard people being surprised that few people from bulgaria and the region took part. In fact it is just not comparable to the situation in germany with lots of initiatives and groups active for years. Evenmore it is great if local initiatives had a good experience and outcome of their hard work to make this camp to happen. This has to be seen from their evaluation. From personal talking and the last plenary on the camp the project seemed quite a sucess in that way.

There had been attempts by lots of people at the camp to make the language barrier less important for reaching the goals of the camp, f.e. with theatre actions and photo-exhibitions. The border issue is not only of relevance for the local people, but to act together on a regional level and therefor gather in bigger groups than local possible. Nontheless it is similair to summit protests the (open) question how to continue from this temporarily visible protest of a camp to ongoing activities in the neighbourhood that is nearly never confronted or part of activism, eventhough people were positive about us.

For the balkan region, the connection of people concerned about racism and borderconflicts from different countries need to be strengthened. The question is why there had been so few other people from the region, f.e. turkey. People we asked when we were in istanbul befor the camp started said, they know about the camp and it is interesting for them but they do not have time to leave their work or they do not have passports to come. Of course it would have been problematic to make such a camp on turkish territory as it is a police state much harder than bulgaria, but maybe, as lots of people travelled to istanbul befor or after the camp anyway, maybe next time it could be connected to the camp one or two days of exchange meeting in turkey f.e. focussing on making the situation visible later on the camp or presenting what happened to people who were not able to travel and participate. Of course this should not be a blame of anyone, as i could have invest energy in such thing myself instead of complaining, it is just an idea of mine after the camp.

The media about the camp was in a way positive, but it was difficult to gather information, what right now is taking place on the camp and press-release group had to be formed quite late as the people in organisational preperation were just too limited in capacities. Our aim to collect stories on the newsboard at the infopoint and to report what was going on was not taken so that lots of things happening were not visible to people who did not take part directly. On the other hand, one articel in bulgarian media was full of lies and just an attempt to discredit our actions and aims. I heard people motivated to write some counter-article on this in bulgaria, but nontheless we were not able to react fast on this and people in other parts of bulgaria got mainly this image of us as we had not strong own media. This is also the case as in bulgaria, expect indymedia, no sympatising media project exists as far as i know. The question is how to not loose this important part of protest to our enemies.

There had been a workshop on the camp about "why nobordercamps" which i did not participate in, but which might have some arguments for and against putting our limited capacities as anarchists or antiracist activist, who are quite a minority in societies all over europe in such projects. I think on the one hand it is very nice for personal exchange and good experiences together, learning to know each other and act on international level. On the other side, it looks rather like every-years summer vaccation, while it could be strategically more interesting to make projects of smaller infrastructural size, like a caravan through a region with moviescreenings in villages and small towns or decentralized common direct actions, like airport protests where people could also in their vaccation time participate in other cities but as well people who do not have money or time to travell are able to participate.

I hope people from the more privilleged parts of europe, who are able to move a lot got more interested to support and exchange with activists from the edges of the east and people from the balkans got interesting experiences and energy for continuing their projects.

Article published first on 10. Sep 2011 by ::